Tag Archives: PACE


Leading youth theatre PACE, best known for producing a string of illustrious alumni, is launching a brand new platform to offer quality creative experiences this summer for young people aged 3-21. The platform is open to young people across Scotland and can be accessed on a Donate What You Can basis, free to anyone that needs it until September 2020.

Joining the A Change of PACE platform means young people can sign up for all PACE’s online summer events and courses, chat and share in an online community platform specific to their age group, access exclusive digital content from artists across the country, and much more. 

Children’s charities are warning of the long-term impact of Covid-19 for young people, with many already feeling the effects of social distancing, high levels of isolation, and the wider social and economic changes to their lives. With proven links between having a creative outlet and an improvement in wellbeing and development, A Change of PACE aims to offer a creative respite and a supportive online environment to as many young people as possible.

A Change of PACE offers two membership options; a Regular membership includes a weekly zoom drama workshops while the new Light memberships allow young people to access all of the online videos, audio adventures, podcast and digital theatre, as well as book summer events, without the weekly commitment.

The Paisley-based youth theatre has been successfully running online drama classes and building a creative community for its existing members since the lockdown prompted a re-imagining of its core activity in March, launched with an online Q&A and masterclass by former alumni and star of The Last Kingdom, Mark Rowley.

Explaining why he believes creative opportunities such as this are vital, Mark said:
PACE gave me so much confidence and self belief growing up. When I didn’t have vision and felt a bit lost as a teenager, they gave me a focus and a drive to pursue a dream that I thought was unattainable. More than ever, these activities can be a constant in the lives of young people and it’s great for me to be able to give something back.”

Positive feedback for this pilot has prompted an expansion of its offering and staff hope to be able to bring this fantastic resource to even more young people, with the removal of geographical and financial barriers. It is a cornerstone of PACE’s ethos that finances should never be a barrier to participation. Thanks to vital support from the Scottish Government’s Supporting Communities Fund / Linstone Housing, the Wellbeing Fund, Corra Foundation, Charities Aid Foundation and public donations, PACE is making A Change of PACE free to anyone who requests it, and on a Donate What You Can basis for those who are able to.

Jenni Mason, Artistic Director of PACE says:
This is an unfamiliar and challenging situation for everyone and I think it is particularly hard for young people. We believe that at a time like this, the arts have an absolutely key role to play, being creative can provide a fantastic outlet for young people and it can also provide a way for them to process and explore what is happening around us.”


PACE Theatre Company is delighted to announce actor James McArdle as its first patron. James is a former PACE Youth Theatre member and since graduating from RADA in 2010 he has garnered a string of impressive credits including title roles in James I, Platonov and Peter Gynt at the National Theatre, a Broadway transfer of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, and as the Earl of Moray in the 2019 feature film Mary Queen of Scots.

This announcement comes as the company reveals the location of the building which is to be transformed into a new community theatre space, EXCHANGE, dedicated to promoting and developing theatre for children, young people and families; as well as promoting participation by young people through performance and creative learning opportunities.

The vacant building on Old Sneddon St in Paisley, was most recently the site of a former nightclub (Mannequins) but was built as the New Templar Hall in 1932 and has been variously used as a dance hall, cinema and telephone exchange in its lifetime.
The building will provide a home venue for PACE’s own performances (almost 200 annually) as well as hosting a programme of professional touring productions, and offering an alternative venue for Renfrewshire’s thriving community performance scene. It’s planned flexible-use spaces will also allow for a host of creative learning opportunities.

Jenni Mason, Artistic Director of PACE, said:
“We’re thrilled that James has accepted our invitation to become a patron for PACE. He has always been incredibly supportive of our work and generous with his time when it comes to our young people, and we know that his achievements to date are an inspiration to many of our young people.

“With the development of Exchange, our aim is to create a welcoming space for children, young people and families – from igniting a passion for theatre and performance in the very young, right through to supporting and nurturing emerging artists at the start of their careers.”

Speaking today, James McArdle said:

“I’ll always be grateful to PACE for the start that they gave me on my journey to becoming an actor, not just the skills I learnt when acting but how to have confidence in myself and hold my own. It is a privilege to be able support them in their ambitions.

“I have experienced first-hand that theatre has the power to be lifechanging and already, it’s clear that through this building they will be able to create even more opportunities for young people and their families.

“It’s still the happiest time of my life, I felt like I had a voice and was listened to at PACE even though I was young. It taught me I had value and worth which has been a vital part in becoming an actor but also just in growing up.”

The proposed model for the building model is inspired by young people focused buildings in England such as Unicorn Theatre, Polka Theatre, Chickenshed and Half Moon Theatre in London, Hullabaloo in Darlington, Contact in Manchester and Greenwich Young People’s Theatre.
Renfrewshire Council has already pledged an award of £300k from Renfrewshire’s £1.46m share of the Scottish Government’s £50m Town Centre Capital Fund – aimed at bringing vacant buildings back into use, improving infrastructure and supporting community-led regeneration.

Cllr Lisa-Marie Hughes, of Renfrewshire Council, added: “PACE Youth Theatre have been at the heart of the local area for more than three decades – in that time many thousands of young people’s lives having been enriched by that experience, and this new venue will open up those benefits to the next generation too.

“Of course, there is a long list of those young people for whom time spent at PACE was their springboard to stardom in the world of TV, film or theatre – and it’s great to see James McArdle coming back to where it all started for him to be part of this announcement today.

“Renfrewshire Council is putting culture at the heart of our plans to help transform the area’s fortunes, through the Future Paisley programme – which includes major investment in our own cultural venues such as Paisley Museum and Town Hall, as well as funding to help local creative groups like PACE grow.

“So we are delighted to have been able to make available funding, which will help PACE bring a long-term vacant building back into use and bring new footfall and vibrancy to the town centre.”
The award is a the first committed towards the project’s capital development total, expected to be in the region of £2.4 million, and PACE is actively seeking funding from sources to achieve this. Full details of the new building and ways to support the campaign can be found at www.exchangetheatre.org<http://www.exchangetheatre.org> .